With the ongoing Navratri festive season, pro-Hindutva group Bajrang Dal on Thursday said that it will “guard” garba events to bar “non believers” from entering the venues to prevent “love jihad”. The hardliner right-wing group said that it will post its volunteers outside garba venues in Gujarat, The Indian Express reported.
Vinod Bansal, the national spokesperson of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), with which the Bajrang Dal is associated, said, “The non-believers (vidharmis) have no reason to attend such events. Garba is not only a cultural event, but also religious. If a non-believer attends it, it makes it clear about their intentions as to why they want to attend the event.”
Bansal said that at the events earlier there were incidents of “physical assault, rape, love jihad and kidnapping”.
Bansal said “non-believers” should “restrict” themselves from attending these events, and identity cards will be checked by venue organisers.
“It is our duty to protect our sisters. When the celebration of Navratri started we even requested the non-believers to not attend our events, through our social media handle,” Rajesh Patel, a Bajrang Dal worker said, as quoted by IE.
“The recent (Wednesday night) case which happened in Ahmedabad, where a case of a non-believer entering one of the garba venue, happened because we want to protect our sisters. We got to know about the event, we keep doing rounds of different venues, and keep a check on such activities. Each venue is guarded by 5-7 of our volunteers, who keep doing rounds,” he added.
In Ahmedabad’s Sindhu Bhavan area, a Muslim man was allegedly assaulted by Bajrang Dal activists at a garba event, India Today reported.
During “surprise checks” by the activists at an event, they caught hold of four Muslim men who had entered the venue. While three fled, one was caught and beaten up.
Navratri, meaning nine nights, where Goddess Durga is worshipped, across India, began from September 26 and will end on October 5.